Two respected senior New Testament scholars examine cultural context and theological meaning in Philippians and Philemon in this addition to the well-received Paideia series. Students, pastors, and other readers will appreciate the historical, literary, and theological insight offered in this practical commentary.
Paideia: Commentaries on the New Testament explores how New Testament texts inform Christian readers by:
The Paideia series approaches each text in its final, canonical form, proceeding by sense units (pericopes) rather than word-by-word or verse-by-verse. Thus, each commentary follows the original train of thought as indicated by the author instead of modern artificial distinctions. Using this approach, one is able to grasp not only the exegetical-historical information of a passage, but also follow a coherent theological expression throughout.
Finally, this series is enormously helpful and practical through its usage of small visual presentations of historical, exegetical, and theological information. Highly user friendly, this is a great resource for college students, pastors, or those who want to take their Bible study to another level.
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“His task is to offer an alternative way of seeing reality and a set of values—a communal phronēsis—that will produce the habits and conduct that will result in their moral formation before the day of Christ.” (Page 19)
“With the introductory Paul and Timothy as slaves (douloi, NRSV ‘servants’) of Christ Jesus, he introduces the countercultural mind-set that he will establish in the letter. Over against the Philippians’ quest for honor, Paul and Timothy are models of an alternative set of values (cf. Tite 2010, 65). Paul anticipates the reminder that the one they now worship as Lord came ‘in the form of a slave’ (2:7) and that Timothy served (edouleusen) with Paul in the gospel (2:22).” (Page 26)
“Thus Philippi was unlike any other city visited by Paul, who could have imagined that he had left the cities shaped by Greek culture and entered the Roman world as he began his ministry there.” (Pages 4–5)
“Philippians, and indeed of Paul’s entire ministry, is to ensure that the community he established will be blameless at the day of Christ (2:16–17; cf. 1:10; 1 Cor. 1:8).” (Pages 17–18)
“Rome looked to Caesar as the one who preserves peace and security, ‘we await a Savior who” (Page 103)
Thompson and Longenecker have produced a first-rate commentary for contemporary students. The authors provide a guide to larger scholarship but offer their own assessments based on scrupulously careful readings of the text. The theological comments offer a model of how careful readings of these texts can and cannot be used in discussions of contemporary issues. I recommend it enthusiastically for students and ministers who are serious about the biblical text.
—Gregory E. Sterling, Lillian Claus Professor of New Testament, Yale Divinity School
Thompson and Longenecker are two seasoned scholars who have added a worthy contribution to the distinguished collection of commentaries in the Paideia series. Paul’s letters to the Philippians and to Philemon, so different and yet related, are thought through carefully, with the many alternate interpretations sifted and weighed and with theological implications for today thoughtfully presented.
—Carolyn Osiek, Charles Fischer Professor of New Testament emerita, Brite Divinity School, Texas Christian University
With informed imagination and exegetical skill, Thompson and Longenecker open up two of Paul's most personal and engaging letters. With attention to Paul’s scriptural, rhetorical, and cultural resources, they take us deep into Paul’s faith and thought-world in ways that show the creative power of the gospel. The commentaries are enriched by engagement with biblical scholarship ancient and modern. The interweaving of Christian theological reflection with the authors’ own wisdom opens the way for the essential next step in reading Scripture: contemporary appropriation. Highly recommended!
—Stephen C. Barton, department of theology and religion, Durham University
James W. Thompson (PhD, Vanderbilt University) is scholar in residence at the Graduate School of Theology at Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas. He is the editor of Restoration Quarterly and the author of numerous books, including Moral Formation according to Paul, Pastoral Ministry according to Paul, The Church according to Paul, and Hebrews in the Paideia commentary series.
Bruce W. Longenecker (PhD, University of Durham) is professor of religion and W. W. Melton Chair of Religion at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. He previously taught at the University of St. Andrews, the University of Cambridge, and Durham University. He is the author or coauthor of numerous books, including Thinking through Paul: A Survey of His Life, Letters, and Theology; The Cross before Constantine: The Early Life of a Christian Symbol; Philippians and Philemon in the Paideia commentary series; and the bestselling The Lost Letters of Pergamum.